RFID Case Study: Documentation of production process

RFID project automotive: Implementation of a control system for an axle production process

At a glance...

  • Monitoring of individual production steps
  • Consistent preparation of product-specific information for required documentation

RFID Products used:

  • Frequency 134,2 kHz
  • RFID Reader Profibus
  • RFID Reader RS232
  • HGL Mobile Antenna Head
  • Rod Antenna
  • 32mm Transponder glass tube

The challenge

New regulations of the European automobile industry require manufacturers of motor vehicle axles to improve the documentation of their production processes. For each process step and each individual item in work, the particular manufacturing parameters must be gaplessly recorded. Where a material fault is suspected or damage is noticed at some later point in time, related routing documents must be expressive and reliable enough for a particular suspicion to be excluded beyond any doubt or for vehicles with affected components to be identified and recalled in an expeditious manner.

For technological reasons, bar code identification was not possible in this scenario. It required a more available and fault-resistant system. For further process efficiency, the operator was also to be relieved from having to carry out manual identification.

The implementation

Once the basic part of an axle has reached its first manufacturing station, a plastic screw is turned into a tapped hole at the bottom. This screw contains a transponder with an unequivocal identifier code.

If recorded by one of the reader devices that are installed at the various process steps, its data such as exact time, name of process step operator, voltage or welding temperature will be written into a data account. Each axle is assigned exactly one transponder and one corresponding data account. This ensures consistent and verifiable documentation of all actual values that were obtained in a given manufacturing process, allowing potential faults to be easily located.

At the end of a production cycle, a consecutive serial number is stamped into each vehicle axle. The system takes its final transponder reading and completes the documentation procedure for this work piece by adding a serial number. The plastic screw with transponder can then be turned out of that axle to be available for reuse in another routing cycle.